Bagels are probably one of the few baked goods I really missed while in Germany. Europe has us beat on croissants, baguettes, bread – in general – and a host of other things, but bagels are rather hard to find. Having lived in New York City for a summer, and experienced some of the best NYC bagels (Ess-a-Bagel, Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company, or Tompkins Square, depending on who you ask), I appreciate a good bagel – and especially a good bagel sandwich! If any of you have a favorite bagel shop, I’d love to hear about it!
Most summers, my mom and I go to the St. Paul Farmer’s Market together almost every Saturday. Alongside vegetables and fruits, and maybe some plants or flowers, we also had a tradition of stopping at Golden’s Market Bagel Stand. Selling coffee, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and delicious bagel sandwiches – your choice of bagel, toasted and topped with your choice of fresh, farmer’s market veggies, cream cheese, melty cheddar, and an egg – though the line was often long, it was well worth the wait! Sadly, though my mom and I have continued heading to the farmer’s market each weekend, the bagel stand has not appeared this summer due to COVID concerns. I sincerely hope it returns next summer, but in the meantime, I decided to take matters into my own hands by trying to make farmer’s market-style bagel sandwiches at home!
First step: making the bagels! Yes, you could also buy bagels – but why do that when you could enjoy the experience and taste of a fresh, homemade bagel at home, and better yet, choose exactly what you want in and on said bagel?
Having recently tried my hand at sourdough bread, I decided to make sourdough bagels! I think the sourdough flavor really goes perfectly with the other savory flavors in a breakfast bagel sandwich. Sourdough does require a bit of planning beforehand, as proofing takes time – this recipe is best started a day or two before you actually plan to eat the bagels. After adding in rosemary and garlic, and topping the bagels with some parmesan and everything-but-the-bagel seasoning – voila! I was ready to move on to the bagel sandwich toppings.
Fresh farmer’s market veggies definitely bring bagel sandwiches up a few notches, so those were a must. I also mixed some spices and parmesan into cream cheese to add another pop of flavor. (I made one cream cheese spread with too much dill flavor for my mom’s liking, but the other one – with just garlic and parmesan – met with her favor.) Cheddar and ham joined the fray, and we also invited a friend over who was a pro egg-fryer, cooking each person’s to order. Terrific toppings plus the homemade bagels made for some monstrous, jaw-stretching sandwiches, but oh were they delicious! If you’re looking for a way to enjoy some fresh veggies as the summer winds down, look no further!
Rosemary Garlic Parmesan Sourdough Bagels!
Soft, chewy, and full of flavor, these bagels are great on their own or surrounding a sandwich!
1 cup (200 g) sourdough starter
30 g flour (about 3 1/3 TB)
30 g water (about 2 TB)
1/2 bulb garlic (4-6 cloves)
Olive oil for drizzling
1-1/4 cups (315 g) cold water
2 tbsp (30 g) maple syrup
5 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 g) fine salt
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Flour or semolina for proofing
- FOR BOILING
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon brown sugar
- FOR TOPPING
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated – not the powdery kind)
Trader Joe’s Everything-but-the-Bagel Seasoning
Any other toppings of your choice (I also used some sesame seeds)
- Before you make the dough…
- If your sourdough starter lives in the fridge, set it to the counter and allow it to come up to room temperature. Once it is at room temperature, feed starter with 30 g flour and 30 g water, stir and leave sitting at room temperature until fully active (about 3-4 hours).
- While you’re waiting for the starter to become active, roast the garlic. Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
- Drizzle bulb/cloves with olive oil, and wrap in foil.
- Place on a pan and roast in the oven until soft and fragrant, about 20-25 minutes.
- Mixing the Dough
- Once the starter is active, mix the starter with the cold water and maple syrup and stir.
- Add flour and salt until everything is loosely combined.
- Cover bowl and leave at room temperature for about one hour to autolyse. Put starter back in the fridge.
- Squeeze roasted garlic cloves directly into bowl, and add the chopped fresh rosemary leaves. Knead the dough until rosemary and garlic are evenly distributed. (Can do this in a stand mixer, if desired).
- Shape dough into a ball, cover, and let rest 20 minutes.
- Divide dough into 8-10 equal pieces, depending on how many and how large of bagels you would like.
- Roll each piece into a ball on a clean, flour-free countertop (this to create surface tension and a skin on the ball).
- Cover dough balls and let rest 15 minutes.
- Shaping the Bagels
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour or semolina.
- Poke a hole with your finger directly through the center of the dough ball. Insert both index fingers into the hole and roll fingers around each other to stretch out the center until you have a decent-size hole. (You can also use the roll-into-a-log bagel-shaping method, or any other bagel-shaping method of your choice.)
- Cover the shaped bagels with a towel, and let proof at room temperature, 2.5-5 hours (depending on the temperature of your house). To test if bagels are done proofing, take a bagel and place in cold water. If it floats, they’re done proofing. Dry the test bagel off and return to the baking sheet. If it sinks, it still needs to proof longer.
- Once proofed, cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 12-24 hours (I did this overnight).
- The next morning, at least 12 hours later, preheat oven to 450ºF (230ºC). Place cheese and Everything-but-the-Bagel Seasoning (and any other bagel toppings of your choice) on flat plates.
- Boiling and Baking the Bagels
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the baking soda and brown sugar. Remove the bagels from the fridge and gently place them, a couple at a time, into the water. Boil for about 30 seconds on each side. (*see note)
- Remove boiled bagels with a slotted spoon to get rid of most of the water.
- Shake off excess water and immediately dip the top of bagel into desired toppings. Set back on the baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining bagels. If cheese or other toppings aren’t sticking well, try sprinkling on top.
- Place the baking sheet in oven and turn down to 400°F (200°C).
- Bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until golden on top. Cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.
- Enjoy your bagels! Try with homemade savory cream cheese, like this cheesy garlic one (I added more garlic than it called for), or one of these herb and garlic ones. Add some farmer’s market veggies for an especially satisfying experience!
- *How long you boil a bagel influences its interior texture. According to the Bagel Bakery, “We generally let the dough boil for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, but the longer you let it boil, the thicker and chewier the crust.” Check out this link for more details on bagel boiling.
- This recipe was adapted from foodbodsourdough, a great resource if you’re new to sourdough, this classic New York-style sourdough bagel recipe, this asiago-rosemary bagel recipe, and this rosemary-garlic sourdough recipe.